or those who look into the future and are concerned, there are some fundamental questions: What can be done? What should be done? What will be done? Wherever Microsoft goes today or tomorrow, it must not be allowed too much control over something as important as the way we communicate with one another.
Bill Gates wrote in The Road Ahead about the need for a dialogue on the information highway. Next month a group of industry leaders, academic specialists, consumer activists, and government officials will gather in Washington, D.C., at a conference to debate the impact of Microsoft's business practices and to develop strategies to address the future of digital communications. How about joining us, Mr. Gates?
You can read Ralph Nader's letter to Bill Gates (and another to Vice President Al Gore) at the Appraising Microsoft Conference Web site. While you're there, you can also register to meet other Microsoft bashers at the Nov. 13-14 do in Washington. The Department of Justice set forth its case against Microsoft's actions in the browser wars in a memorandum to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dated Oct. 20, 1997. Read Microsoft's views on the complaint. For other views on the Java challenge see Slate's "Culture Wars," by James Surowiecki, and "Weak Java," by Andrew Shuman. And for Slate's planned response to Ralph Nader, see "Hey Ralph, Where Do You Want To Go Today?" by Michael Kinsley in the Oct. 18 "Readme."
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate.
James Love, director of the Consumer Project on Technology, prepared additional material for this article.
Illustration by William L. Brown.